I wrote this a few years back and sometimes when I review old pieces I’ve wrote I find things I really like and this is one of those, with some minor editing!
Ever noticed how ridiculously easy it is to find people who love to complain in this industry, why is that? Is it just the nature of the beast? Are we all pre programmed is there something in truckers DNA that has us looking to the dark side of everything we see first, I don’t think so? I think that as is usually the case most whiners believe in the squeaky wheel gets the grease theory. It’s probably a fairly reasonable guess that 20% of drivers do 80% of the winning and they will continue their rant until you join their club. Whiners need validation by consensus and will be relentless in their victim stories until they get agreement from those around them, don’t let it happen, this is one club you don’t need to belong to.
Trucking has been very good for the last couple of Haight generations and I know there are many of you who feel the same way with your own families. I have no reason to complain and am always conscience when I have felt to close to one of these types that I don’t allow myself to get caught up in their negative world. Would I change some of the things I’ve done, of coarse wouldn’t we all, one thing I’ve learned is that regret for the past is a waste of spirit and over my time the good stuff has far outweighed the bad.
When you think of what’s at the core of what we do, it’s really very honorable, we keep North America functioning. The old warn out slogan still stands tall “If You Got It A Truck Brought It” is as true today as it ever was that’s why its never been replaced I guess. (By the way Bill MacKinnon takes credit for creating this saying and I have no reason to doubt him.) We keep everything in tune and functioning like a well-oiled machine and we do it well, very well. This is an honorable profession and I believe that more so now than at any other time in my lifetime.
So here’s the common rant, no money in this game, no respect from the public or the shippers. My company takes advantage of its drivers, no one is fair to us it all sucks, right? Wha Wha Wha, etc, etc!
So why keep on trucking? Try this on; in what other profession would you get the opportunity first hand to see what’s happening in all corners of the country without getting bogged down in its minutia. I remember many times creeping through towns at 4 am and wondering if I was seeing more of what the local’s surroundings than most of the citizens do in their 9 to 5 existences.
I always felt a little sorry for that person who was stuck on the dock riding a tow motor for eight hours a day loading and unloading trailers to destinations they would never see; now there’s a trap. Was I envious that they got to go home every night to their family’s or go out after work for a few drinks with their buddies? Yes for the drinks and being home piece but defiantly not for being glued to a tow motor all day. I drove away from those docks thinking that an hour or two at that place was plenty for me, I couldn’t imagine 8 hours a day 5 days a week for 30 plus years, please! Not this cowboy.
Those people will never experience those golden moments that came along once in awhile for most drivers. I’ve had more than a few one I remember was when I was on my way to Sacramento I was quite young at the time and had been trucking for a couple 3 years. I was in Nevada on I-80 when I woke up before dawn; I had an egg, got cleaned up and was down the road before the sun broke through. For the next hour I was as close to perfection as driver can imagine. I came off a high plane and could see the road straight ahead of me for miles not a car or another truck in sight. My drivers side window was down with my arm hanging out the temperature was perfect as a bright red sun broke through the morning over my shoulder onto the road and the rock cut around me. I had a soft country tune playing on the stereo that still let me hear the rhythmic sound of the engine as it powered me effortlessly through the desert and all was right with the world.
This is one of a many memories that stand out for me in my 10 years driving, memories that people in other jobs won’t come close to and I wouldn’t trade for the world.
I also recall 33 years ago loading out of London Ontario headed to Texas when I saw a pretty little girl on a tow motor sliding skids onto a trailer. I was preoccupied all the way to Texas and back and finally worked up the nerve to ask her out. My wife Connie and I celebrated 33 years of marriage in 2009. The moral is, keep your eyes wide-open driver you never know what you might find on the dock and some of its pretty dam good.
Here’s my advice, don’t fall into the victim trap that many drivers like to rant about, the world isn’t out to get you unless the paranoia driven drivel of a few is what you are focusing on. This is a great industry full of fantastic people and I am fortunate to be able to call many of them my friends.
Times are tough right now, no doubt but life is what you make of it no matter what you direction to go in, focus on what’s good and not what might go wrong from time to time. Believe me if you do you will be able to draw on those golden memories forever, I hope you have a have a great 2010.
Take Good Care
Mr. Ray Haight has enjoyed a successful career in transportation starting as a company driver and Owner Operator logging over one million accident free miles prior to starting his own company. After stepping down from a successful career managing one of Canada’s 50 largest trucking companies, Ray focused on industry involvement including terms as Chairman of each of the following, the Truckload Carriers Association, Professional Truck Drivers Institute, North American Training and Management Institute and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities voluntary apprenticeship of Tractor Trailer Commercial Driver, along with many other business interests, he enjoys a successful consulting business, also sitting on various Boards of both industry associations a private motor carriers. He is also Co-Founder of StakUp O/A TCAinGauge an online bench marking service designed to assist trucking companies throughout North America focus on efficiency and profitability within their operations. All posts by Ray Haight